The First Heart Attack
Last updated: September 2022
I had barely known my husband for five months when he had his first heart attack. He was in his early thirties and I in my mid-twenties. The night it happened, we had dinner and attended a minor league hockey game with his parents. The evening went fine, and I had no idea what would happen once we returned to Chris’ house.
Life saving decision
Once we got to his apartment, the weather had started taking a turn for the worse. It was January, and it had started snowing and sleeting. I lived about forty-five minutes away from him at the time, so I decided to stay the night and not risk driving home in the bad weather. Ultimately, I think this decision saved his life.
Change in demeanor
When we started getting ready for bed, his demeanor changed, and he told me he wasn’t feeling well. As he stood up to go to the bathroom, he passed out. I called 911 immediately, but I did not know his address. I was scrambling through mail on his table, trying to find one with his proper address. When he moved to Tennessee, he temporarily stayed with his parents until he found an apartment, and some of his mail had their address. I finally figured out what address to give to the dispatcher, and at this point, he had started to make his way down the stairs. Thankfully, I was able to find his correct address.
It felt like forever
A heart attack never crossed my mind. We were both young and healthy, so I thought he must be getting sick. Little did I know they were treating him for a heart attack in the ambulance. Once I arrived at the hospital, I had to wait in the E.R. waiting room until they called me back.
Once they allowed me back, I found out he had a heart attack and needed to call his father. After meeting his father and stepmother only twice, I had to call them and inform them that Chris was about to go into surgery for a heart attack. Even though they only lived a few minutes away, it felt like forever before they arrived.
I wanted to be with him
Thankfully, they arrived right before they took him to surgery. It was late at night, and we were all exhausted. I dozed off in a waiting room chair and awakened when the surgeon updated us on his condition. We were allowed to see him quickly before we had to leave for the night. It was strange going back to Chris’ apartment alone, not only because I had never slept there alone before, but because he was less than ten minutes away in an ICU after a heart attack. I wanted to be with him, but no night visitation was allowed and he needed his rest.
Support and rehabilitation
His father and I spent the next few days in the ICU waiting room. We were allowed to see him fifteen at a time every hour. We would visit him in his room and then return to the waiting room until it was time to visit again. I supported him through his cardiac rehabilitation and learned healthy heart diets for him. He came to stay with me until he would be safe to be home on his own.
Have you experienced shortness of breath in the last week?